21 September 2016

Members of Cherry County Wind

Indications of where wind turbines and associated facilities may be built are indicated by agreements between Cherry County Wind LLC and Bluestem Sandhills LLC.

A number of the county wind group members signed a “Wind Energy and Lease Agreement” during June 2013, according to publically-available county records. Known entities that were included are listed here in alphabetical order, as sorted from the county records. These locations can be indicated on maps as places where property owners have agreed to have wind turbines and associated facilities.

Details given are: Name; Acreage (rounded off to nearest whole number); and Acreage Source; with some ancillary notations

Abbott Cattle Company [Chris Abbott has provided supportive testimony for wind turbines, with A.J. Abbott a member of Cherry County Wind LLC and having been present and spoken at Cherry county planning and zoning board meetings]; 48,512 acres; ( B
Board of Educational Lands and Funds; 28,666; ( C; [a proposed turbine facility in south-eastern Cherry county north of Thedford and along Highway 83 would be primarily placed on BELF property; the board of BELF approved enrollment of school lands without any public hearing, according to details received from the agency director via email. BELF tracts are public property.]
Broken Box Company (Rex Adamson and family); 37,002 acres; ( B
Glen Coble and Sons, Inc. with Matt Coble representative; 19,922; ( A
Don Cox Ranch Company; 6167; ( B
Donald B. and Deborah S. Cox; 640; ( B
Donald D. and Jolene M. Grunhaupt; 760; ( B
Reed Hamilton Ranch, Inc.; 5733; ( B
Henderson Land and Livestock Co.; 11,372 ac.; ( B
Casey L. Henderson; 640; ( B
Elmus and Tonya J. Henderson; 7142; ( A
Larry and Carolynn T. Henderson; 15,698; ( B
Mark and Janelle Johnson; 520; ( C
Krajeski and Johnson, Inc.; 2598; ( B
Lyn J. (DeNaeyer) Messersmith; 8080; ( A [Martin DeNaeyer, dwelling at the historic ranch southwest of Brownlee, is currently a Cherry County Commissioner candidate]
North LLC; 4683; ( C
Ivan R. and Phyllis M. Phillips; 1829; ( B
John N. and Patsy L. Phipps; 1680; ( B
Duane R. and Carolyn J. Porath; 631; ( A
Powderhorn Ranch, Inc.; 12,281; ( A
Rocking J Taylor Company; 3712; ( C
Rocking J Todd Company; 16,140; ( B
Nancy and Robert Sinnett; 2684; ( C
South LLC; 2863; ( B
Sunny Slope Ranch, Inc. (Fischer family); 9730; ( B
James L. and Michalene R. Van Winkle; 657; ( A; [Mr. Van Winkle is a county commissioner]
Yeager Ranch Land, Inc.; 4121; ( B
( A - total given with document
( B - summation of parcel acres given with document
( C - parcel acreage as derived from Cherry county gis system

The total approximate acreage of these 27 known entities is approximately 254,463 acres.

An additional member of the association is John Ravenscroft at the Three-Bar Ranch, when he was directly, and personally, immediately asked following his testimony at a public hearing at the Valentine High School.

A member of the board of directors for the group is John Hansen, an employee of R.E. “Ted” Turner, owner of the Sandhills Ranch Properties, including the Spikebox, Fawn Lake and McGinley units spread across Cherry county.

Property tract details can be associated with the wind energy lease agreements. Indicative comments include, but are not limited to:

  • adjacent to the Broken Box Company is the Yeager Ranch Land, Inc. to the east; to the south is the Rocking J Todd Co.
  • the Donald Cox parcels are adjacent to the southern extent of the Glen Coble and Sons tract; the J.N. Phipps place is just southwest of Don Cox
  • the Reed Hamilton parcels are adjacent on the east side to the expansive extent of BELF lands which are the proposed locale for a 147 turbine facility in southern Cherry county, north from Thedford; a southern extent of the DeNaeyer ranch is on the west side of this proposed project
  • the Phillips property is at the southern extent of the Abbott Cattle Company, and northward of Glen Coble and Sons, and creates a corridor between both larger properties
  • the three Henderson properties are contiguous; and just southward of the large tract of enrolees such as the Abbott's and Cobles and Phillips
  • South LLC is on the south side of the north Thedford project
  • North LLC is eastward of Brownlee and includes tracts along the North Loup River

Properties associated with the Board of Educational Lands and Funds deserve special attention, as their location may indicate localities that may be a focus for future wind turbine facilities. There are at least all or portions of more than 10 disparate sections associated with Abbott Cattle Company land. This includes eight parcels which comprise 2720 acres. Another section is surrounded either by Abbott land or the Phillips. One section 36 parcel has Abbott on each side except to the east; another section 36 parcel has Abbott land adjacent to its east side, with the section predominantly Goose lake. BELF parcels are also associated with the Henderson property, as well as the Coble property.

Adjacent properties provide a large tract for dozens of wind turbines and associated facilities. Turbines can be more profitably placed when the development is situated in a contiguous manner where related infrastructure can be shared (i.e., the 50,000+ acres of north Holt county facility owned by Berkshire-Hathaway Wind Energy, and currently under development).

It should be noted that any wind turbine development in western Cherry county would require the construction of an industrial powerline necessary to distribute – into the power grid - any generated electricity, as there is none currently available.

There is no known power transmission line within this western extent of Cherry county that could be used to transport any generated electricity, any developments would seem to have a requirement for construction of an industrial powerline.

Based upon currently known agreements, there are “isolated” tracts too small for development (i.e., the Van Winkle property west of Wood Lake; and, in the German settlement district south of Crookston the disjunct Porath parcels and to the south, the Grunhaupt acres).

The known members of the association that have agreed to tenets of the “development” agreement are indicated a miscellaneous agreements book kept in the deed office of Cherry county.

For example, the Van Winkles signed this agreement in January, 2014' this document repeeats the enrolled land parcels. Other filings – primarily representing the entities previously indicated - were during a similar period of time.

Each agreement has these provisions for the "Property", based upon a review of the county record: "(i) construction and maintenance activities related to wind energy generation facilities, (ii) access on and over the Property, including certain rights to construct and maintain roads on the Property, (iii) placement, continued presence, operation, and maintenance of meteorological equipment, (iv) placement, continued presence, operation, and maintenance of wind energy facilities, (v) placement and continued presence of underground and above-ground transmission lines, (vi) placement, continued presence, operation, and maintenance of substation, (vii) harnessing of the flow of wind over the Property and the right to unobstructed free flow of wind over the Property, (viii) generation and maintenance of noise and shadow flicker, and (ix) and the overhang of wind turbine rotors on the Property."

Cherry County Wind LLC indicates about 70 families or entities are involved, representing at 450,000 acres. Less than one-half of the members are known to the public. When some members have been noted to provide comments or write letters to editors, they haven’t indicate their involvement in the group.

Details of this report are subject to immediate change as there is regular and ongoing business during the week at the Cherry county register of deeds office.

Addendum of Members of Cherry County Wind

October 15, 2016

Information has become available that indicates additional members of Cherry County Wind, LLC.

  • Bob and Peggy Marsh: 1392.9 acres northward of Mullen
  • Shirley E. Osborne (i.e., Daniel and Shirley Osborne): 2835.5 acres northward of Mullen
  • Three Bar Cattle Company (John Ravenscroft et al.): 30,893.73 acres in central Cherry county
  • Ridenour Land and Cattle Company (Ryan Ridenour, et al.): 7496.17 acres, west of Highway 97, southward of Merritt Reservoir

John Hansen, a member of the group’s board, purchased 178 acres immediately south of Crookston. When he originally was involved with this group, he did not own property within the county, but was the representative of his employer that owns extensive property in the county.

There is one member of the group which is no longer a land owner within the county. Sandra McCreath Dittbrenner indicated in a September 27th letter to the county commissioners that she was "a member of CCW through inheritance of the Cherry County ranch that my parents owned." She is not a current property owner, according to records of the county assessor, as determined on October 14th. Property that she once owned had been sold.

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